[Histonet] Science

Rene J Buesa rjbuesa <@t> yahoo.com
Tue Feb 6 07:00:35 CST 2007

Automatic sectioning???? 
  I do not foresee that happening, at least NOT until a microtome is equipment with the computerized software that allows:
  1- locate the tissue in the wax;
  2- decide "a priori" HOW DEEP to section into that tissue (what information could be provided to the software to decide that?) during trimming; and
  3- decide which sections to discard FOR EVER and which to use to stain.
  Since all recognition software have to be "fed" with initial information to enable the recognition, the only way would be to "feed" the information at the moment of cassetting.
  Later, that automaton will have also to decide when and how much to cool the block to section among many other decisions to take!
  Those are only few of the decisions that the automaton would have to able to take.
  Again, I do not foresee that happening any time soon (and probably never). Not even from the economic point of view.
  A good "reliable" histo-artist (or artisan if you prefer) will always be more reliable and cheap than that monstruous and unlikely to be developed automaton.
  Just a thought!
  René J.

Janice Mahoney <jmahoney <@t> alegent.org> wrote:
  I have always thought of Histology as part art, part science. The more I
read everyone's comments here I'm leaning toward Histotechnologists
being scientists with exceptional manual dexterity. We are not really
artists in the true sense of the word, but more like skilled craftsmen. 
In my mind this is just as valuable and should be as highly regarded as
the science aspect. 
The issue here is first of all, being called "artists" or "craftsmen"
is not as highly regarded in the medical community. Secondly, we can't
just be artists, we also need to be scientists to be fully competent
technologists. We will never be shown the respect or earn the pay if we
don't embrace the science and have the education to back it up. This is
becoming more and more important as time goes on. When we are fully
automated, which we will be, the ones of us who do not know and
understand the science will be obsolete, like the knife sharpeners and
autotechnicons of our past. I know there are many people out there who
are still sharpening knives, etc. but for the majority of the
Histotechnologists, we see more and more automation as each year passes.
Processing, staining, embedding and yes, even cutting, will become
obsolete. We, as Histotechnologists will have to know how to trouble
shoot problems, verify that the instrumentation is producing quality
results, assure specimen integrity, many of the things med techs do
today. We will have to know the science. 
I'm just as nostalgic about the past as the next guy, but I also see
and embrace the inevitable and exciting changes that are about to happen
in this wonderful field. We are growing by giant steps and it has only
just begun. I hope I'm around long enough to see The field of
Histotechnology finally come into it's own.

Wow, how was that for a long reply.

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